Song Lyric Sunday: Her Diamonds

Today’s theme for Song Lyric Sunday, chosen for us by Jim in his post Sickness, is to play a song about illness, injury, scars. As Jim says, we could be served up some painful, sadistic and masochistic music this week! I’m not a fan of heavy metal – which is where I imagine I could have found plenty of candidates – so I just didn’t want to go there! There were some obvious ones for me, like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ Scar Tissue, but I wasn’t sure that it was fully in keeping with the theme. The same was true of many other songs I knew, as the illness and injury were much more likely to be about the damage done to the heart by a love affair, which left its scars on the singer. But one song I know and like is completely appropriate, as it is about real illness. This is it:

The opening lyrics run like this:

“Oh, what the hell, ” she says, “I just can’t win for losing”
And she lays back down
Man, there’s so many times I don’t know what I’m doin’
Like I don’t know now

And by the light of the moon, she rubs her eyes
Says, “It’s funny how the night can make you blind”
I can just imagine
And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do
But if she feels bad, then I do, too
So I let her be

And she says, “Ooh, I can’t take no more”
Her tears like diamonds on the floor
And her diamonds bring me down
‘Cause I can’t help her now
She’s down in it
She tried her best and now she can’t win
It’s hard to see them on the ground
Her diamonds falling down
Way down

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Thomas Robert Kelly

Her Diamonds lyrics © Emi April Music Inc., U Rule Music Inc.

There is quite a back story to this song. You may well know Rob Thomas from his song Smooth, which was a massive hit for him and Santana, or from his role as lead singer of the excellent band Matchbox Twenty, but he also has a solo career which to date has seen him release five albums. This song was on Cradlesong, the second of those, and is about his wife, Marisol Maldonado. They met in 1997 when she was a model, and were married two years later. She has suffered much from illness, which at the time Rob wrote this for her was believed to be an autoimmune disease, and was later diagnosed as Lyme Disease. She has gone through brain surgery as a result, and no longer pursues her original career. The couple are committed animal lovers and supporters of animal charities, and have established the Sidewalk Angels Foundation. This is a non-profit organisation which helps needy people in and around America’s big cities, by partnering with various charities to assist those who cannot afford medical care, and also helps animals that have been abandoned or abused. Marisol now runs the charity. The song’s title is a metaphor for a girl’s tears, which Rob explained in an interview: “It’s actually a song about a girl who is very ill. It’s really about being empathetic, when the person closest to you is going through something and you can’t do anything to make it better except to be there for them.” He was, of course, referring to his wife, who actually sang backing vocals on the song. The actor in the video is Alicia Silverstone, about whom Songfacts says “Silverstone had to be fitted for a plastic body cast as the frozen woman in the Dave Meyers-directed clip. Time ran out before the team could get a cast of her face, but luckily she already had one made from her role in Batman & Robin 12 years earlier. A little grease on the exterior gave the costume its icy appearance.”

The song was released as a single in April 2009, and reached #23 in the US, though it didn’t make the UK chart. It has sold well over 1m copies in the US. The album followed in June of that year, peaking at #3 in the US and #75 in the UK – so it was good to know my purchase counted for something!

Apart from being a fan of Rob and Matchbox Twenty this song doesn’t hold any particular personal meaning for me. I just think it is a lovely tribute from a man to his wife, whose pain and suffering they have gone through together: those shared experiences have made their bond even stronger. As love songs go, it is hard to find a better one. And I think I’ve managed to avoid going down the paths of sadism and masochism, to my great relief!


21 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: Her Diamonds

  1. Pingback: Song Lyric Sunday: Her Diamonds – MobsterTiger

  2. Pingback: Hot Days In July | Take It Easy

  3. Great song! I’m a big Matchbox Twenty. I appreciated learning the backstory of this story. I commend Rob and Marisol for their work with the Sidewalk Angels Foundation. Fantastic song choice today, Clive!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great choice, and I love Scar Tissue too. I haven’t heard this song in a long time, so thanks for the reminder! I’ve been a Matchbox 20 and Rob Thomas fan since they broke out here in US. I knew about his wife, and his mother was also ill. “3am” was written about her, if I remember correctly.

    SLS is great for reminders of old favorites and finding new favorites, isn’t it?!🥳🎶💃🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you like it – like you I’m a big fan of both him and the band, right since the first MB20 album. Rob had a hard upbringing: as well as suffering cancer his mother was an alcoholic so they struggled, and as you say that’s what 3AM was about.

      I only started doing SLS about six or seven weeks ago and it is already a regular part of my blogging week. I also enjoy hearing older favourites and finding new music – the majority of those taking part are from your side of the pond and many of the bands people choose have never done anything here!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I too haven’t listened to much of him outside hearing him on the car radio. A good song that the back story adds texture and depth to. My mind went from this to ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond,’ guess the word was the trigger.
    Glad you never went down the twisted heavy met Hell dark route too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve listened to him a lot, both solo and with the band. You could call me a fan! I think the song stands up well on its own, but the back story adds a new dimension. I can see how that link came to mind for you – a great piece from a great band.

      There was never any danger of going that route: loud tuneless crap isn’t really my thing 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Clive, any song that you decide to go with would be acceptable, but I think you picked a real winner with this. I have heard this on the radio before, but I hardly knew anything about Rob Thomas or his wife. I really enjoyed your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Yvette. Thank you – I agree that the back story really adds to the song’s meaning. To me it would still be a great song but that raises it to another level. I didn’t know about the video before I put this one together, but thought it merited being included as it added to the story.

      I was glad I knew this song, as I didn’t really want to go down the death metal, dismemberment route 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

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